It’s Not Too Late for a March Break

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Although the dark, depressing days marking winter are finally behind us and we can put our heavy coats away for another year, instead of trekking through giant, slushy puddles for the coming weeks, why don’t you soak your feet in the warm Caribbean sea?

Because, you know, Spring isn’t officially here until March 20, so there’s still time for a winter getaway!

So if you’re tired of looking at this:

Treat yourself to some of this: 

For those of us who spend five months a year freezing and miserable—frostbitten fingers, wet feet, and perpetually dry skin—a Caribbean vacation is a much-needed therapeutic, rejuvenating break. It reminds us that the sun, although virtually non-existent in our wintery lives, does still exist. And there’s nothing better than relaxing in the shade in a sun lounger, squinting against the white sand beyond while listening to gentle blue waves break on the shore and realizing that summer will return. Winter won’t last forever.

And taking a Caribbean vacation in late March/early April is as good a time as any. There are plenty of ‘last minute’ deals to be had, and you will be guaranteed amazing weather. Sometimes the trouble with travelling to the Caribbean in January and February is the risk of a cold snap. Imagine looking forward to your holiday in Cuba only to find windy, 14°C days and a cold sea—not entirely a pleasant day at the beach when you’re wearing a sweater. Also, with the mad rush of the official March Break over, the resorts won’t be overrun with people (screaming children). Not to mention the chaos at the airport…

So where to go?

The obvious choices are Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. All are beautiful islands with plenty of sun and fun. However, they can be crowded. But if you feel like living it up with 1,000 new friends, then go for it. But if sharing a stretch of beach with row-on-row of mega-resorts isn’t your thing, try exploring the islands of the Lesser Antilles.

Antigua

Antigua is a stunning island. With 365 beaches—one for every day of the year—Antigua is a beach-lovers paradise. And it’s sister island, Barbuda, ringed with pink-sand beaches, is only a short boat ride away.

It’s a fairly small island, being only 17km wide and 22km long. So if you’re feeling adventurous, start one morning off by swimming in the Atlantic, and finish your day swimming in the calm Caribbean, where you can witness a glorious sunset over Montserrat—the volcanic island which you can see from the west coast, its outline jagged against the sky.

And if you need a break from the beach (as if anyone needs a break from the beach), Antigua has plenty of unique historical sites to explore. Book a day tour and visit some of the best: Nelson’s Dockyards, a restored 18th century English naval base, Shirley Heights lookout, a restored military lookout and gun battery, with an iconic view of English and Falmouth harbours, and Betty’s Hope, a 17th century sugar plantation.

Grenada

Known as the “Island of Spice”, Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers of nutmeg and mace, and also produces cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cocoa and allspice—making the winds fragrant and exotic. The beaches on the southwest of the island are stereotypically idyllic, and Grand Anse beach, a 3km stretch of wide, powdery sand with a view of the island’s capital, St. George, is considered one of the world’s best.

St. Lucia

Lush, green, dramatic. St. Lucia rises imposingly from the sea, its mountainous centre capped by dense rainforest. The sand isn’t powdery-white due to the island’s volcanic origins—its beaches are honey-coloured or black, but the water is crystal-clear, perfect for snorkeling and diving.

St. Lucia’s geography is stunning and perfect for adventure-seekers. There are mountains for hiking, rainforests for zip-lining and rugged terrain for off-roading.
There are waterfalls, sulphur springs, national parks—St. Lucia has it all!

But what sets St. Lucia apart is its romantic setting. When you’re lounging on the beach surrounded by such lush vegetation and mountainous landscapes, you really get the sense of being in a tropical paradise. Your day-to-day life—not to mention the salting, the shoveling, and the scarf wearing—is the furthest thing from your mind, and you can truly relax.

So what are you waiting for?

Throw some sunscreen, shades and swimsuits in a suitcase and go! 

COMMENTS

Guest at 15 Mar 2013

A great read with some great recommendations.

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